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very great extent the popular origin and working of our institutions has involved men's minds in a confusion of ideas as to the name and character they belong to. And as misapprehension here is mischievous, drawing practice after it, perverting the views of our too frequent constitutional conventions, and so putting every thing at hazard, the cloud must, if God permit, be dissipated, and the clear, benignant sky of the country's morning brought back.”
Our system is Republican, as contradistinguished from Democracy, or, to adopt the language of Mr. Madison, in The Federalist, it is "a government in which the scheme of representation takes place." It follows, therefore, that it is, unlike a democracy, one of delegated powers; and, though like it, free and of the same character in the popularity of its aims and general scope, the difference between them is very great. Democracy is one of the simplest forms of government, and has a polity which trusts no one and respects no body, but the people at large, making every man, without regard to qualifications or character, a ruler for the whole; while a Republic is complicated in its organization, all its measures being taken by means of delegated power, and the people standing aloof from its acts, content with a supremacy over these, and their agents, by influence only, through public opinion and the ballot box. A nice and just machinery was therefore requisite; checks, balances and braces were necessary ; moral causes were to be foreseen and countervailed, and moral influences to be anticipated ; every organic weakness had to be searched out in advance; a guard to be set upon every point of probable exposure; and the force of every dangerous tendency measured and neutralized before events developed its existence. It was a herculean undertaking on the part of the revolutionary statesmen. See what they had to do. Much of it is succinctly set forth by Mr. Warner in the article of the American Review, already quoted from. He says :
In the first place, there was wanting a vast agency mechanism for ends of ordinary government. And things must be so managed as to bring into the service of the country a variety of personal qualities and talents. There must be men for making laws, men för seeing laws executed, men for judging in detail of common justice between party and party, men of all sorts of ministerial labor in aid of the more prominent functions of political life. In some of the walks of duty, great abilities were necessary, in some professional skill; a measure of undoubted character for principles in all,
How was the selection to be made ? There was one point of difficulty. To some extent, the people might be supposed competent to choose their own agents. This was eminently true in reference to the legislative and chief executive functions; involving services which, though of vast importance, were not of a kind to call for much technical knowledge or specific preparation, so that the leading business of the government, and that upon which all else depended more or less, might be safely organized in the way the general liberty required, namely, by votes sufficiently numerous to express the
popular sentiment of the country. Had it not been so, the repablican scheme must have altogether failed as impracticable. But legislation was no mystery of art, and the people could not well be mistaken in the kind of evidence by which the fitness of a legislative agent should be indicated. High standing for integrity, good sense and acquirements, with some experience in affairs, was all they wanted. So also, the executive function (apart from its judicial subdivision) could be judged of in a general way by everybody. And these are the parts of the system where it was especially momentous that the people should be as closely and sensibly present as possible. But in descending from hence to other branches of the public service, such as the courts, particular bureaus, &c., the case became harder for the common mind to manage. It was not enough that candidates for such places were well reported of. There was to be a special adaptation of the men to the offices, a fitness of artificial skill, concerning which the multitude were scarce capable of forming an intelligent opinion. It would, therefore, be safer as to stations of that sort, to entrust the appointing power
with persons of eminence in the government, who from their position might be expected to exert it more cautiously and discreetly than the people could. And, fortunately, there was nothing in the economy of the public liberty that was likely to take harm from such an arrangement.
Still, beyond the question how far it was best to organize the public service by popular vote, how far by substituted agencies (no inconsiderable question by itself), ulterior matters were to be attended to. There was danger of bad men coming into office through ignorance or incaution on the people's part, or by the arts of deceivers; and there was danger of men becoming bad under the perverting influence of office, after their elevation to it. How were evils like these to be guarded against ?
One expedient was that of dividing public power into several parts, called jurisdictions, and setting these in counterpoise against each other. Hence the well known legislative, executive, and judicial departments of government, each under separate charge, and fenced, as far as practicable, against encroachment from the rest. The early constitutions lay great stress upon this.
Another expedient was the territorial division of the country into States, counties and townships; or rather the making use of these divisions (they existed already) to distrie bute the dispatch of public business over a wide surface, and so to prevent a plethora of the central system, and keep down the fever of the head by drawing off as much as possible of the elements of active power into the extremities.
Other securities of a personal nature were added to these; such as age, residence, property, religion, and the like; required partly in candidates for office; partly in electors, more or less in both. Nor does it need much knowledge of human history to determine that all the guards and cautions which the case admitted of, were not likely to be more than enough.
But, in the second place, the, sovereignty of the polls was also to be looked after.
And here the first inquiry would naturally be directed to the proper vesting of this all-important power. Who should have it? From whom should it be withheld? For observe, it belonged of right to nobody, save as the Constitution should give it, being a mere functionary power to be held, not for the special emolument of individuals, but in trust for the commonwealth. Who, then, in matter of safety and prudence, should have it, and who not? Women and children were of course out of the question. It is incompatible with female delicacy to join the scramble of an electoral contest. And as for children, they could not understand the thing at all; their votes would be no better
than a lottery. So that two-thirds, three-fifths of the entire community, are thus set aside at once.
honda mu se tako pero no Would it do to clothe fresh-landed aliens with a suffrage of this kind ? How much better than children could they understand the use of it? Or what stake have they in the country that could be supposed to give them a proper sense of concern in the con. sequences ?:
Finally, are there not native citizens in abundance to whom such a franchise cannot be prudently confided ?-men without virtue, without intelligence, without property, without patriotic attachment, without anything to bind them to the country, or'fit them for a voice in its affairs ?
It is difficult, you will say, to apply tests. It is, indeed. But it is harder still to preserve free institutions without them. Our antipathy to tests is apt to become morbid. In some forms they are odious things, but in some they are necessary. So, at least, the fathers thought; nor has their judgment in the matter fallen yet into quite universal disrepute.
I conclude, in the third place, with one suggestion more. The fathers had to suit their measures to the social and civil elements of the land they were providing for, What were those elements ? Different classes of men, distinguished from each other, not in rank or privilege, but in education, refinement, property, habits and pursuits. Was there not something due to such peculiarities-to each and every one of them in particular? Would do to frame the government with a view to the rich only, or the educated and refined? Would it do to frame it in utter neglect of these portions of the general mass of citizens, as if their existence where unknown? Government is moral power in the hands of a few over the many. The balance of physical force is withi the governed. Supposing, then, the people to be free, the political system must in prudence be so fashioned as to please them, lest their physical force should not be quiet under it. And how, as a whole, are they to be pleased and satisfied, unless their prominent diversities of character, business and condition, are all taken into view, and made something of in the economy of the Constitution?
Let us illustrate in the article of wealth or property. Some men are very rich, some poor, and some in middle circumstances. Would it be wise to take no note of this in framing a government for all ? Would it be safe? Suppose numbers disregarded, and wealth made a test of admissibility to every kind of office whatsoever ; is it likely the poor and middle orders of society would be satisfied? Or if property were disregarded, on the other hand, and not only the right of suffrage, but office too, in all its grades and forms, thrown indiscriminately to the multitude, would this be satisfactory to the more opulent classes ? There might, in one case or the other, be no sudden outbreak of impatience, but there would certainly be a leaven of discontent in the body-politic, calculated to put it in a ferment by and by. All this should be avoided ; and with reasonable care it may be. What is easier than to make some offices accessible to all ranks, and confine others to men of good estates? Or, if you wish a property qualification to be general and uniform, let it be adjusted to the notion of a medium between rich and poor. As regards the franchise, there is no convenient alternative but to try for such a medium. For, since the men who have nothing are always more numerous than the rich, and often compose a majority of the whole people ; if you make the suffrage universal, you annihilate the influence of property; while, on the other hand, if you give the poorer classes no vote, you annihilate the influence of numbers. Now, you should do neither of these things. Take the world as it is. Let those who pay the taxes, and bear the chief burdens of the State, have an influence directly proportioned to their use
LET us now take a brief survey of the details of the Republican system thus established by our forefathers, under so many embarrassing and perplexing difficulties—details material to their plan and policy, and anxiously and wisely adjusted by them. They belong mainly, though by no means altogether, to the State economies, and may be classed as relating, first, to the character and circumstances by which it was supposed that candidates for office ought to be distinguished ; secondly, to the mode of appointment deemed most likely to secure a fair result; thirdly, to the qualification of electors where the election was popular; fourthly, to the term and tenure of office when attained ; and finally, to some additional
same misguided, unhappy, evil spirit which has recently made you a terror to your country, which gathered you on Kensington Common, and which dragged that fraudulent, lying petition of yours to the House of Commons, that closes against you American factories, and excludes you from this land of intelligence, freedom, plenty, and happiness. Would to God that this timely monition, this humiliating but friendly reproof might reach your heart, and work there that reform which you would carry into the government of your country. Do not mistake me. I blame you not for an attempt to mitigate your sufferings or redress your wrongs, but it is a golden maxim in republican America, that for every constitutional evil there is a constitutional reform in moral power, and must be based on intelligence and virtue.
Such, too, is eminently the case with a very large class of the German immigrants. They come here as disciples of Heine, who, in 1848, published his famous Democratic programme in Switzerland, one of the main features of which is, that there can be no true freedom until Christianity shall be abolished. Liberty to them is a vague and indefinite idea, and, under their guardianship, would soon be nothing more nor less than licentiousness. Imbued with the German philosophy of European revolutionary leaders, and filled with new, strange and bewildering theories of the destiny of man and of human society, they soon find, on their arrival here, that their ideas of universal happiness are not likely to be realized, in the present state of American society, or under the existing form of government, and they become accordingly the advocates for the abolition of both. Denying all imperfection in the nature of man, and finding the Christian religion in the way of their social and political reform, they do not hesitate to assail the religion as well as the government of our revolutionary ancestors. Organized under the style and title of Free Germans, they have their associations in all the principal cities of the Union. In March, 1854, the branch at Richmond, Virginia, published a platform of principles and a programme of measures. So did the one at Louisville, about the same time, from which the following extracts are made, showing the character, objects and purposes of the organization, and affording ample evidence that its members are not a desirable class of people to be invested with the rights of citizenship, until they are more capable of appreciating the principles and structure of our government than they now are :
TO ALL TRUE REPUBLICANS IN THE UNION. The Free Germans of the Union have found it necessary to organize themselves for the purpose of being able to exercise a political activity proportionable to their number and adapted to their principles. There is a fair prospect for success for such an organization, and in this hope the Free Germans of Louisville, Kentucky, have proceeded to law down the following platform, which they unanimously agreed upon in a mass meeting, and make it known to the public at large as the standard of their political course.
large as the